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04Dec

Wanting to make a good impression and make your home stand out in the crowd doesn’t have to cost the earth. There are numerous budget-friendly ways that you can use to make your property more appealing to potential buyers and increase your chances of selling for the highest possible price.

You can make a big impact without spending big money, too. Subtle, well-thought-out and inexpensive updates are sometimes all that is needed to make a lasting impression and give you the edge in the market.

Here are some budget-friendly updates you could do before listing your home: 

Start with a renovation checklist 


Before doing anything else, walk through your home and visit each room to make a list of what needs to be repaired or replaced. It’s might be difficult, but try to be objective, focusing on how buyers would view your home. A second opinion from a friend or family members could help during this process. Look for outdated styles and fixtures, bold patterns and colours, unfinished projects and over-cluttered cupboards or countertops. Consider which elements showcase the home in its best light and what doesn’t. Once the checklist has been established, the next step is to set a budget and make time to complete the tasks.

First impressions count

It takes people just 15 seconds to decide whether they like a house or not. That just highlights the importance of making a good first impression. A buyer’s impression of your home is not only formed by what they see on the interior but starts from outside the property walls. People passing by will judge whether they want to have a look at the property by the way it looks from the street. Curb-appeal is vital and contributes to the success of attracting buyers. Start maintenance outside the property and work your way inside. Basic updates such as painting or refinishing of fences sheds and garage doors, cutting the grass and planting some flowers can improve the look of a home from the outside. 


Use transitional styles

Every home will have a style that is as unique as the people who own it. Ideally, you want to incorporate modern aspects into the home without losing its character and warmth. A transitional style walks the line between traditional warmth and homeliness, and the clean lines and subdued tones of a contemporary look. You want to tick the ‘just right’ box – not too cold or formal and not too fussy. 

Kitchen and bathrooms are key

As some of the most frequently used areas in any home, the kitchen and bathrooms will be a focal point for buyers. Pay extra attention to these areas to ensure they are fresh and look great. Things such as stained shower stalls, broken or missing grout and leaky taps or dated cabinet hardware are easily replaced at minimum cost. Exposed pipes in the bathroom can be boxed in and hidden. 


If laminate on kitchen doors is warped, there are companies who will re-laminate the kitchen doors and carcasses for a fraction of the cost of replacing them. A fresh backsplash is also a great way to update the look of the kitchen while giving the impression of a much bigger renovation. A new kitchen backsplash is surprisingly affordable and DIY-able.


A fresh coat

A new coat of paint is an inexpensive way to revitalise the home, especially if you have the skills to do the job yourself. Paint can breathe new life into a dated space and can be used in a variety of applications on walls, doors, cabinets, fixtures and even tiles. It is best to stick to a neutral muted colour palette when deciding on which paint to select, as these colours will appeal to the largest number of people. 


Replace or repair skirting boards

It is possible to repaint the skirting boards, but sometimes they can be over-painted and in need of a refreshed look, especially next to repainted painted walls or new carpets. At approximately £1.25 per metre, it’s a cheap fix and there are online companies offering a wide range of styles, meaning you can match styles with any skirting boards you wish to keep. 


Replace internal doors and door handles 

If your property was built in the ’70s and you still have the original doors and handles, then they are nearly 50 years old. It’s safe to say that these types of doors and handles will not be coming back into fashion anytime soon. Handles cost as little as £7.99 each, while a door will cost around £46.99 depending on the style and material chosen. 

Put up new window coverings

New window treatments can enhance a room without requiring much effort. You can find reasonably priced and easy-to-install shades, curtains, and rods at stores such as IKEA.

Light switches and electric sockets


Another cheap but highly effective update, replacing the light switches and electric sockets won’t break the bank but will bring the home into this century. A switch will cost around £1.32, while a socket will set you back approximately £3.89. Think safety first – always employ a professional when replacing electrical elements.

Repair failed double-glazed windows

While a blown double-glazed window was once very expensive to repair, this is no longer the case. There are many specialist companies who can remove moisture from inside the failed double-glazed glass, clean and re-seal your windows for a fraction of the cost of buying new double glazing.

Hang wall art


The look of a room can be completely changed simply by hanging artwork. Before making holes in the wall, layout the artwork on the floor to get the right arrangement if there are more than one or two pieces. Markets, antique stores and second-hand shops are great resources for finding expensive gems.

Updating your home doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. By making these small changes before listing a property, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of setting your home apart. 

To find other budget renovation tips check out our video on 'How to upgrade your home for less'. 


02Nov

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Click here to open the infographic in a new window

As the nights draw in and the temperatures start to fall, there’s plenty to get excited about; the build-up to Christmas, New Year celebrations and Spring just around the corner. There is, however, a less exciting aspect of winter that could end up costing you if you don’t take precautions: damp.

What is damp?

Damp is the presence of unwanted moisture in the structure of a building. Often manifesting itself in ugly dark patches of mould and grime on walls, floors and ceilings, damp can wreak havoc on the structure of your home, and repairing the damage can cost a great deal of money. In short, it’s no laughing matter.

What causes damp?

As it gets colder outside, temperatures inside houses start to rise as homeowners and tenants put the heating on and then try to keep warm for as long as possible by keeping all doors and windows tightly closed. This is great for keeping us toastie and snug, but it can cause problems.

Warm air trapped inside a house without a means of escape will start to form condensation on surfaces colder than the dew point of the air outside, leading to the moisture you often see building up on windows and walls. This can lead to what’s known as ‘condensation damp’, the most common type in the UK. It’s estimated that around 1 in 5 homes in the UK are affected by this type of damp.

    Condensation forming on a window may be an early indicator of damp.

 

Condensation forming on a window may be an early indicator of damp.

How can you protect your home?

 One of the most crucial factors in preventing damp is allowing good circulation of air. In winter, we tend to try to conserve as much heat as possible, keeping heating on, and windows and doors closed. The indoor humidity created when the radiators are on has nowhere to go and starts contributing to damp. In order to allow good circulation…

…try to keep windows open for short, intermittent periods each day.

 If your radiators are on, they’ll still be adding to the interior humidity, even if a window is open. To minimise the humidity they create…

…have your radiators on at lower heat for longer periods.

Another common problem that contributes to damp during winter is drying laundry. When the weather is too bad to allow you to dry your clothes outdoors, shirts and socks end up on the radiators, releasing moisture into the house. Try to take of advantage of any clear, windy days to…

…dry your laundry outside as often as possible. Alternatively, dry them in the bathroom with the window open and the door shut.

As you might expect, water vapour is one of the worst contributors to dampness in the home and can be generated by a number of sources. To mitigate this, when taking a bath or shower, you should always do so with the window open, or with the extractor fan on if one is installed. Likewise, in the kitchen, try not to boil the kettle longer than is necessary, and keep lids on boiling pans where possible. In short…

…keep the amount of steam and water vapour in your home to a minimum.

 

What else can you do?

If you believe damp or mould is present in your home, speak to your landlord immediately. The sooner the problem is identified, the sooner it can be addressed, and if you don’t make your landlord aware in a reasonable timeframe, it could be you who has to foot the bill for redecoration!

What can landlords do?

Be sure to make regular checks of the property, and look for signs of mould during every inspection. This is often where issues such as damp are noted, allowing you to deal with them before they become a problem.

If your tenant alerts you to the fact that there may be damp in your property, have it thoroughly checked by a qualified professional. Dealing with damp can be expensive, so preventative measures should be a lot cheaper than dealing with the problem once it manifests itself.

Before your tenants move in, have the property fitted with vents and extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom. Try not to use non-porous paints or wall coverings, as these stop the walls from ‘breathing’. If you have laminate flooring anywhere in the property, have the floorboards underneath checked by a qualified professional. Damp can form if laminate is laid too tightly on floorboards.

With damp it pays to be vigilant. If you suspect it may be present, have it checked out immediately.

If you have any questions regarding your rental property please contact Sawdye & Harris on 01364 652652



Source: DPSblog.com


01Nov

The real truth is that nobody really knows, everyone is speculating or exaggerating ! The property market does quieten down when there is a general election or has a small blip when interest rates rise but given the continuing problem with supply there really is an expectation that prices will only go one way over the long term even if the market quietens down over a little of Brexit scaremongering.

Some buyers are naturally less confident and will want to sit it out until the market adjust post-brexit but the simple reality is that there are not enough new homes being built or existing homes to go around, so once the uncertainty is over the market is likely to resume afresh after possibly a light breather.

For others Brexit will simply not be an issue as people get on with their day to day lives and move because they need to.  I have seen people who have sold in the past thinking they could buy back in a “couple” of years later after prices fall, who now over 10 years later cannot get back on to the ladder. Property is not a short term investment especially given the cost of trading in an out of ownership.

There is no doubt that Brexit has already had an impact on the property market with many adopting a wait-and-see approach until the final deal has been made. As March 2019 and a final decision edges closer, many people are wondering whether they should take advantage of the current situation and buy or trade up, while house prices have subsided. On the other hand, some people are conscious that a hard Brexit could see the housing market slow down and are trying to decide whether now is a good time to sell. 

What is important to keep in mind is that value or price only becomes important when you sell or re-mortgage. There are less properties being sold, transactions are down but this is having the effect of keeping prices at a good level as there is often a real lack of choice for home movers.   Even if there is a slow down or a breather around the time we exit then this is likely to be short lived.


If you are looking for a property or thinking of selling contact Katie Griffin on 01364 652652 for professional advice.

 

 

 



30Oct



Briefly discussing the housing market in his third Budget as chancellor, Phillip Hammond announced that he will extend the cancellation of stamp duty for first-time homebuyers on properties up to £300,000 to first-time buyers of shared ownership properties valued up to £500,000.  He also stated that the measure would be retrospective, so that any first-buyer who has bought a home since the last Budget will benefit.

According to Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, removing Stamp Duty on all shared equity purchases up to £500,000 is great news for prospective homebuyers getting into the market for the first time, but will do little for those who currently own property and wish to trade up. “Since the abolishment of the stamp duty for first-time buyers, many more people have been able to get their foot on the first rung of the property ladder. In fact, as Hammond announced, the number of first-time buyers purchasing property is at an 11-year high. However, it seems that the last two first-time buyer incentives have been designed to drive the focus away from the traditional second-hand market. Initially Help to Buy and now the incentive to buy shared equity property,” he says.

More money for Housing Infrastructure Fund

Hammond also announced that he will give a further £500m to the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which is designed to enable a further 650,000 homes to be built. “The demand for housing in the UK has long outweighed the number of available properties. This further allocation of funds will assist the government in addressing the housing shortage and will create more opportunities for people to become homeowners,” said McKenzie. 

Housing on the high street

McKenzie adds that another interesting point that the Chancellor made was turning unused commercial spaces on the high streets into residential housing, again in a bid to ease the burden of the housing shortage, as well as rejuvenating the high-street and creating more foot traffic past high-street businesses. An amount of £675 million will be put into a future high street fund to redevelop un used areas and help the high streets adapt and increase interest for local businesses.  

Lettings relief limited

In the Budget, Hammond said that from April 2020 lettings relief would be limited to properties where the owner is in shared occupancy with the tenant. “The lettings relief is often used by people who have difficulty selling their home, whereby a maximum of £40,000 of gain per owner is exempt if the property is rented out. It seems that small landlords are being targeted again with the reformation of the lettings relief, as it is only available where the owner and tenant are in shared occupation,” adds McKenzie.

International investment

Permanent tax relief has increased from £200,000 to £1 million for 2 years to encourage more investment. “With many international property investors adopting a wait-and-see attitude towards the UK before the Brexit decision, a tax relief could be a great incentive to allure them back in and encourage further investment in the country. However, the extent of this will remain to be seen,” said McKenzie. 

“Overall an encouraging Budget for housing in the short term, but the real question remains. What is the government’s long-term strategy? More still needs to be done to encourage transactional volumes and price growth in all sectors,” he concludes.


21Oct

When it comes to selling your property, making a good first impression is imperative. Our Guild agents share their expertise and identify the top 10 biggest turn-offs for prospective buyers and how to avoid them.

1. Clutter

Clutter is not only distracting, but it could indicate that the property does not have adequate storage. 

Nick Manson from Mansons Newcastle upon Tyne said: “De-cluttering is a great way to increase your chances of completing a sale, but that doesn’t mean that you have to part with your prized possessions. You can box them up and store them in the loft or garage. If this is not an option, ask family or friends to store them. Failing that, there is always the option of self-storage.”

Creating a clutter-free, minimalistic environment will help buyers visualize themselves living in your home. Additionally, too much furniture can make a property seem a lot smaller than it is. 

2. Smells

No matter how pleasant your home appears, persistent odours such as the smell of pets, cigarettes, or pungent food can be detrimental when it comes to selling your property.

Simon Bradbury from Thomas Morris Cambridgeshire explains: “An unpleasant odour is sure to put off a prospective purchaser or tenant. Whether it’s the whiff of stale food, pets or even something more… ‘human’… make sure that your property is free of unwanted smells. Ask a trusted friend to give your home a ‘sniff test’!”

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so we suggest opening your windows to air out your property before a viewing and use air freshener or light a candle to ensure your home doesn’t smell unpleasant.

3. An untidy exterior

Overgrown, unkempt gardens are a big no-no. Abby Wheeler from Keats Estate Agents Haslemere said: “The first thing viewers see is the exterior. Ensure your bins are not overflowing and your pathway is weed free. Do whatever you can to make your home feel inviting from the outset. Don’t forget, our viewers have probably already done a drive-by before making an appointment.”

4. Noise

Most people expect their home to be a place of peace and tranquility. It may not always be preventable, but there are steps you can take to reduce unwanted noise from your property.

Mandy Thomas from Keats Estate Agents Haslemere said: “Upgrade your glazing or install sound proof fencing. Alternatively, try to avoid organising viewings at busy times of the day such as rush hour, when traffic will be particularly bad.”

5. No natural light

Light and warmth are two of the most important factors to attract a buyer for your home, especially in the colder months of the year. Angie Kraft from Simmons & Sons Henley-on-Thames explains: “A cold or poorly lit home can be an instant turn-off  to potential buyers by making the property appear dingy and dark in places. If this is the case, it gives the impression of a house that is unloved and uncared for.”

Resolving this issue can be simple. Philip Trollen from Keats Estate Agents Haslemere said: “Natural light is very important as dark rooms are always off-putting. Ensuring the room is well lit, whether that be naturally or with staged lighting is quite simple to do. Make sure the curtains are open and remove those net curtains!”

6. Bad décor

Avoid controversial or quirky décor in your home as it is not to everyone’s taste. What you think is retro, others may consider dated. Bold colours and patterns can turn-off a prospective buyer, as it is important for them to see themselves living there and décor plays a huge part in this.

Simon Miller from Holroyd Miller Wakefield said: “Replace heavily patterned retro carpets, when purchasers are greeted with such a carpet all they see is decades of dirt and grim – I can guarantee the viewer will want to leave as soon as they’ve stepped through the door.”

7. Nightmare neighbours

Nobody enjoys noisy or messy neighbours, especially not a potential buyer. This is something you cannot change, but it is something you can manage. Whether their garden hasn’t been cleaned in years, or their pet dogs incessantly bark, get to know your neighbour and perhaps they may be able to help. If all else fails, organising viewings for when they are not home might be beneficial, too.

8. Poor presentation

Poor attention to detail such as: flaking paint on soffits, grubby kitchen units, tatty net curtains, unemptied ashtrays and nicotine stained walls are taken into consideration when viewing a property.

Lizanne Simmons from Penny & Sinclair Oxford said: “First impressions are massive and we often find ourselves apologising for the sights of the less cared for properties. We always arrive early to a viewing to open the windows, curtains, close the lids to the toilets and pull a duvet into position here and there.”

Simon Bradbury from Thomas Morris Cambridgeshire said: “Dirty kitchens or bathrooms are not a nice thought and certainly not something that a viewer will want to see. My best advice: have the property professionally cleaned before going to market.”

Small and affordable fixes such as: freshening up the paint work, or having your home professionally cleaned will make a world of difference and worth it in the long run.

9. An unexpected problem

Martin Moore from Morris Marshall & Poole Mid Wales said: “There is nothing worse for a viewer than turning up to find there is a significant issue with a property which they were not aware of such as a structural defect, a problem with something in the neighbourhood or compromised accommodation. It is a wise precaution to maintain compliance with Consumer Protection Regulations, but it also makes good business sense – the viewers are more trusting of us and willing to discuss the issues and the available solutions.

10. An over zealous vendor

It is common for a vendor to want to take part in the viewing or show off their DIY aspects of the property. However, vendors being present at viewings may not always be a good thing. 

Stephen Ingram from Penny & Sinclair Oxford said: “A seller that follows the viewer around is never well-received. With the best intentions, those scenarios always highlight why it’s best to leave it to your agent.”

Take a step back and let your agent do the work, it is their job after all and you will thank them later.

Source: guildproperty.co.uk

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